Allen Iverson was once revered throughout the NBA by players, coaches, owners, and fans alike. He used to pack stadiums. He used to be idolized by aspiring basketball players all over. His jersey used to be the best selling in the world. It is obvious that Allen Iverson used to be ‘the man’ when it came to the NBA, but that notion is now long gone.
Iverson continued his fall from heaven on Monday when it was announced that the Memphis Grizzlies ended a one-year contract with AI in what was called a “mutual agreement”. This is coming after the former league MVP took a leave of absence on November 7 to deal with some sort of a personal issue. Whether his leave of absence really had to do with a personal issue or whether it stemmed from his discontent with coming off of the bench is not for me to decipher. I just find it intriguing that this is all going down days after Iverson, on multiple occasions, verbally expressed his unhappiness with not being in the starting lineup. Regardless of the exact reason, Iverson is no longer a member of the Memphis Grizzlies after having only played three games.
So the main question at this point is: Now what? Well, Iverson really only has three options. One is retirement. Retirement is for players who consider themselves relatively old and no longer able to keep up with the ever-changing game. That is the absolute opposite of the way Iverson sees himself. When Allen looks himself in the mirror, he sees a player who is still elite and has much to prove. I can’t see him hanging up the sneaks at this low point of his career.
Another highly unlikely option is playing professional ball in Europe. Some people believe that AI is all about the praise, adulation, and fortune that come with being a superstar. Iverson surely would dominate the overseas leagues, the front offices would shell out millions for him, and the fans over there would simply fall in love with the guy. But in an interview and Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears, Iverson indicated that’s not what he’s about right now. Iverson stated, “I’m not playing basketball no more to make money or anything like that or fame. I’ve been there and did that. I just want to be happy doing what I love to do.”
So it’s likely that the 10-time All-Star will take up third option and try to get on board with another NBA team. So far, it has been rumored that the New York Knicks are interested in signing him. While New York is not exactly a championship-ready team, I’m sure Iverson will take any chance he can get. I hope.
Ultimately, the outcome of the next few years of Iverson’s career is up to him. He can either accept and embrace any role that he is given or he can be a nuisance and plead for more than he has warranted. It’s all about attitude. The choice is yours, Allen.